All of this “crawl” talk today is ironic because I’ve been drafting a post on it for a few days now. I’ve cut out some of the lead in that talked about ROTJ’s weak points and focus on the bit about improving the crawl to make what follows make more sense.
I too was hoping that restructuring the scenes might improve things but after watching the ROTJ Spence Final Cut I’m not so sure that it can be done and still feel “natural”. Smoothing out these types of changes are what pickup shots are for, and that’s not really feasible for anything involving the principal actors.
Instead of bending over backwards to put Luke on Dagobah first, what if it was done through a revised crawl?
Proposed Revisited ROTJ Opening Crawl (85 words, 7 more than original):
While his friends have scoured the galaxy for Han Solo, Luke Skywalker has evaded Darth Vader’s relentless pursuit by continuing his Jedi training on the secret planet of Dagobah.
With Han finally discovered in the lair of the vile gangster Jabba the Hutt, Luke has left his training once again to join his friends in a daring rescue attempt.
Little do they know that the GALACTIC EMPIRE has secretly been constructing a new armored space station even more powerful than the first dreaded Death Star…
Which leads into the opening of the movie as we know it. It’s not perfect but it does address a few issues:
- Luke’s training DID continue after ESB and his powers have justifiably improved
- It better explains why the rescue team didn’t go in as a single team
- It ties in nicely with ESB and ROTJ dialogue of Vader’s search for Luke
- Replacing the word “begun” with “been” suggests that DS2 construction has been going on for longer, better justifying it’s advanced progress.
- It allows for Luke to separate and rejoin the fleet as depicted in the original cut
Granted it begs a few questions. Why did Luke wait to ask “the big question”. Still I think it would work, as Mark Hamill’s delivery of “IS Darth Vader my father?” sounds like a question that has been asked many times before. Some of Yoda’s response may have to be trimmed to make it work, but I really think that it’s worth considering.